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What is a whiplash injury?

If you are in a car crash, it is crucial to understand all the injuries that could occur. While you can tell if you have suffered from some things straight away, an injury such as whiplash may not be immediately evident.

Whiplash is common in rear-end crashes. If someone smashes into the back of your car, it will fling you forward. The only thing that stops you from flying through the windshield is your seat belt. Yet, the highest point of your belt is your shoulder. Anything above that is free to move and will fly forward with the crash impact.

Your neck takes a lot of strain when this happens. If you think of your body as a chain, your neck is the weak link — the skinny part above those broad shoulders. Its job is to carry your head, which weighs around 10 pounds. One chiropractor estimates that every inch your head moves forward from the ideal line doubles the effective load on your neck. That is why having your computer screen at the wrong height or staring down at your phone can lead to problems. Imagine the effect of your head flying forward several inches at speed in a rear-end crash.

How can I tell if I have whiplash?

Whiplash is a neck injury, yet it can affect other body parts too. The only sure way to know whether you have it is to get a medical check-up, but here are a few signs to look out for:

  • Pain in the base of your head, your neck or shoulders
  • Stiffness in your neck, shoulders or upper back
  • Tingling in your arms
  • Headaches and tiredness

Ensuring you have all the information about your health after a crash permits you to seek adequate compensation where needed. Assuming you are fine could prove a costly mistake.